"Unless the defense can explain away this decisive proof, he's just dragging this trial out with entertaining but pointless storytelling," Payne's challenge rang out.

"Actually, Mr. Payne, I think I can explain it."

While Payne was trying to gather the remnants of his cool, I borrowed Ema's notebook and pencil and scribbled a quick note, which I asked the bailiff to give to Detective Gumshoe.

"W-well, then, let's hear it!"

"Yes, Mr. Wright, I'd like to hear your explanation as well," said the judge.

"Well, let's think this through..." I began. "The conductor's evidence proves that Bosc got on the train and was alive after it left the downtown station at 2:30, so he was definitely killed on the train. He was killed by a single gunshot which, somehow, no one heard. The murder weapon and a pair of gloves that Ema had once worn were found in the victim's pocket, obviously placed there by the killer."

"Don't forget," Bartlett pointed out, "that there was gunshot residue on the gloves consistent with the cartridges found in the gun."

Can't I talk without someone interrupting me with unpleasant evidence?

"But just because you found 'GSR' on the gloves doesn't mean it was placed there at the same time as the fingerprint!"

"Well, it's true that a fingerprint doesn't come with a date and time stamp, but I can say that it would be impossible for a second person to wear those gloves after Ms. Skye and not obliterate the print with his or her own fingers."

"Hold it! Why are you assuming that the killer wore the gloves?"

"Mr. Wright, they're gloves."

"So? They're thin rubber. What if the killer held them and the gun in his hand at the same time. Wouldn't that produce the same results as your scientific tests?"

"Objection!" Payne screeched desperately. "This is...this is ludicrous speculation!"

I pounded the desk.

"Of course it isn't! We're obviously dealing with planted evidence that the murderer wanted the police to find. As a defense attorney, I naturally have to ask about other ways the evidence can be explained. The police theory of the case is one possibility to explain the evidence. But! We need to look at other possibilities to see if they're more likely."

"I'm not sure that I understood all that, but it sounded like something a lawyer would say. Objection overruled!"

"Answer the question, Mr. Bartlett!"

"Well, scientifically speaking, it would be possible," he admitted. "Of course, it presumes one important fact. The murderer would have needed to obtain a pair of gloves that Ema Skye had once worn. There would also be the risk of leaving his own latent prints on the outside of the gloves, and I may point out, Mr. Wright, that the forensics examination found no such prints."

"Yes, but what if the murderer himself...was also wearing gloves?"

He flinched. It was just a little one, but it was there all the same.

"So you think the killer wore one pair of gloves and carried a different pair? Are you claiming Bosc offended someone who works at a glove manufacturer?"

I shook my head.

"No...I think Bosc offended someone who works..."

I paused for dramatic effect.

"...at the police forensics department!"

"Whaaaat?"

He did the Dracula-cape thing again.

"How can you say such a thing?" Payne snapped.

"This witness himself testified to the motive! 'Detective Bosc was sloppy in his work. Second-rate!' Those were the exact words. I submit that Detective Bosc's co-workers would have a much stronger motive than the defendant."

"You can't be serious! The SL-9 Incident..."

I slammed my hands on the desk, cutting him off.

"That case is finished! The truth was exposed in this court and the guilty party arrested! It's absurd to assume that Ema would have any further grudge against someone on the periphery of the case!"

Payne doubled up, sweat streaming down his nervous face.

"If anyone had a grudge against Detective Bosc, it would be someone in his own department, someone who believed the forensics staff had lost face from Bosc's errors. Someone like..."

I spun back to the witness.

"Like you, Detective Bartlett!"

Gasps of surprise exploded from everywhere, and the judge had to call for order. Bartlett used the time to tug at his lapels, pulling his coat back into place, and settle his face.

"Absurd!" he barked. "I'm an investigator in this case, not a suspect!"

"Objection! Objection! Objection!" shrieked Payne, each scream growing higher and higher in pitch. "It's absurd, to use the defense's words to even suggest it! It's a defamation of character!"

"Mr. Wright, this court does not look favorably on frivolous claims made by defense attorneys."

"No, Your Honor." Only the ones made by prosecutors.

"Detective Bartlett is a police officer with a long and well-regarded career. If you are going to accuse him of murder, you need to substantiate it, or else I will have to penalize you."

I nodded.

"I understand, Your Honor."

"And you still wish to continue?"

"I do."

"Very well."

"The truth is inescapable, Detective Bartlett. You could not have faked the results of your forensic tests. There's always the risk that they could be cross-checked, especially by a cautious prosecutor who wants to make sure he's being given accurate evidence. This was, I believe, done in this case."

"So you accuse me of murder, then claim your proof is that I perform my job with precision and accuracy?"

"Indeed--and that's what points right at you, Detective. There's only one place you could have gotten a surgical glove with Ema's fingerprint inside it--from the trash in the police forensics lab after she'd attended a training session! Even a girl like her doesn't wear them on a daily basis."

"What do you mean, even a girl like me?"

"You've already testified that the murder weapon was taken from the Police Department. Again, access to the forensics lab where it was being tested would be needed to get hold of the evidence!"

"Objection! The defendant had as much access to the forensics lab as this witness!"

"Objection! This witness works in the forensics lab! He has more access to it than anyone!"

"The defense's point is well-taken, Mr. Payne," noted the judge. "Please take more care in how you phrase your objections."

You've got a way to go before you win that big K and shield, Payne.

"The defense claims this, Detective Bartlett: you were the one with the grudge against Bosc! Even here in court, you can't keep from insulting him. He was one of you, and had brought shame on the entire forensics department. He'd made you look like blundering fools who couldn't tell forged evidence from the real thing! How many cases are being reviewed now? What questions are your superiors asking?"

"A...all right! It's true!" he exclaimed, his bowl-cut hair springing upright and spiky. Whoa, total Jekyll-and-Hyde there! "He was a blundering fool. I should have known you'd spot that, being an expert in that field."

Hey, wait a minute...

"It's true that I hated Detective Bosc. For years I've worked next to him, seeing him foul up simple tests, destroy valuable evidence, and treat his science handbooks with less respect than his horse-racing forms! Now, because of that incompetent, everything we do is under suspicion! Evidence is being double-checked! Payne there had my work in this case reviewed by D'Anjou! We're all being tarred with the brush of Bosc's stupidity!" He pounded his fist on the witness stand in his frustration, then winced; it wasn't a particularly well-padded hand and desk-pounding was no game for amateurs.

"Then you admit the crime?"

He looked at me in (probably mock) bewilderment.

"What? Are you crazy?"

"But you just said--"

"I said that I admitted having a grudge against Bosc! Well, you're right; I did, and I've said why. Probably a number of my co-workers did, too. But as for killing him--"

"But that's exactly what you did!" I barked. "You found out when Ema was leaving town and stole the gun and gloves from the lab, then sent the note to Detective Bosc. Then, all you had to do was meet him on the train, and go together with him to Ema's compartment. You shot him in the back with the silenced pistol, propped him against the compartment door, removed the silencer, stuffed the pistol and gloves in his pocket, knocked on the door, and ducked back to your own compartment."

"You can't be serious!" Bartlett protested. He glanced at Payne for support, but Payne was too busy watching his big chance slip away from him to formulate any more objections.

You're on your own now, Bartlett!

"If you're going to accuse me of murder, you need proof!"

"There's as much proof against you as there is against the defendant, and she's on trial right now!"

"No, that isn't true!" he shot back. "You can't even show that I was on the train!"

Okay, so maybe he can deal with being on his own.

"If I was a first-class passenger," Bartlett continued his protest, "then the conductor would have recognized me from when he took my ticket."

"Would he? He takes hundreds of tickets a day! Even so, a simple disguise would have insured that your face went unnoticed."

Bartlett laughed.

"Wigs and false moustaches? What am I, a scientist or an actor?"

I slammed my palms on the desk. That's how you do it, Bartlett.

"A bad actor, Detective, because your lines aren't fooling anyone! Turn up your coat collar, pull a hat down over your eyes, and you'd have all the disguise you need!" I hoped the judge remembered how well that trick had hidden a man's face in the Goodman murder case.

"Would that really work?" asked the judge.

Serves me right.

"That's an intriguing hypothesis," Bartlett argued, "but it isn't proof, Mr. Wright. You have no proof!"

"Scientifically speaking, he has a point," sighed Ema. "An untested hypothesis isn't evidence."

"Mr. Bartlett is correct, Mr. Wright," the judge said sternly. "I've permitted this line of questioning to go as far as I'm willing to allow. If you want to continue, then show the court evidence to prove that this witness was on the 2:30 Airway Express."

Oh, man, we got here a lot faster than I thought. I scanned the courtroom desperately. I'd know this would happen, but I'd hoped to stall it out longer. Had it been enough time for Detective Gumshoe to get what I needed? Had he been able to do so?

And just how did I get into a situation where Ema's defense relied on Detective Gumshoe, anyway?

"Mr. Wright?"

Gumshoe, where are you?

"Very well, then, in that case the cross-examination of Detective Bartlett is concluded. This witness is--"

The courtroom doors burst open and Gumshoe strode in, waving a piece of paper and the sporting the grin of a puppy who's gotten a new trick right plastered all over his face.

"Hold it, pal! I've got the evidence right here!"

"What is the meaning of this?" Payne shrieked. "What are you running errands for the defense?"

"Hey, I'm the investigating detective on this case! It's my job to gather all the evidence. If Mr. Edgeworth was here, the defense would have had to think of this!"

Whoa, Gumshoe's showing some spunk! Hope this doesn't end up biting him on the butt come salary review time.

"Could someone explain what this is about?" asked the judge.

"Certainly, Your Honor. Mr. Bartlett claimed to have driven to the airport in response to the department's page. I asked Detective Gumshoe to contact the airport parking lot and check their records." Gumshoe handed me the paper he'd been waving. "This is the fax copy of the parking stub issued to Detective Bartlett on the day of the crime, complete with date, time, and license number. You'll note that it's stamped 'Police--Fee Waived'? The parking lot keeps these separate so they can be sure their records balance."

"Of course, because a detective investigating the crime scene shouldn't have to pay parking fees."

"That's not the point, Mr. Payne. The point is that the 2:30 Airway Express arrives at the airport at 2:55. Somehow, though, Detective Bartlett was on the scene at 1:52. 'Don't let the scene grow stale' indeed, but investigating crimes before they happen is a little much to expect." I wheeled towards the witness. "So tell us: how did you get there an hour before the crime was reported?"

"I...that is..." He glanced left and right, as if checking for escape routes. "I was at the airport checking the time and prices of flights, since I have an upcoming vacation. That's why I took the page, because I was already there."

"But in your earlier testimony, you said you drove to the airport after you were paged!" I speared my finger directly at him. "You knew you'd have to drive to the lab after the crime in your own car, because there would be police witnesses everywhere who might see you leave. So you got there early, took the 2:00 shuttle from the airport downtown, then turned around and rode back on the 2:30 to carry out your plan! Then you reported in as soon as forensics was paged so that you would be the lead forensics investigator--and give yourself a perfect alibi for being on the train! Isn't that the truth, Detective Bartlett?"

"I...I..."

I tensed for the objection. It always came while they broke down and stammered. Edgeworth had done it before, bailing out a floundering witness at the last second. So had von Karma. But Payne just stood there, blinking, stunned, flop sweat streaming down his face, hoping the witness could save himself.

And missed his chance.

"All right, already! I did it! I couldn't stand it any longer! That idiot had all but destroyed the forensics department's reputation! I've devoted my entire life to perfecting the scientific investigation of crimes, and now I'm a joke! A laughingstock! They'll be laughing at us for years! Using my department as an example of what not to do while investigating crimes! I had to make him pay for that."

"So why frame Ema?"

"Why not? She had reason to hate Bosc, too, and besides...if it hadn't been for her defending her sister's good name none of it would have come out."

I shook my head sadly. I just couldn't understand the needless waste.

"Your Honor, the defense rests."

The judge struck his gavel.

"Very well. In light of this new testimony, if there is no further objection..."

"So...close..." Payne murmured. It was a little hard to understand, since he was bent over the prosecution desk in an apparent stupor.

"This court hereby finds the defendant, Ms. Ema Skye, Not Guilty." As cheers rang out and confetti flew he added, "Bailiff, could you fetch a few towels? If the prosecution keeps sweating like that, it's going to damage the woodwork!"

-X X X-

"Well, you did it, Mr. Wright!" Ema enthused as we left the courtroom. "Although," she said thoughtfully, "scientifically speaking, it shouldn't have worked. You didn't have any decisive evidence against Mr. Bartlett."

I looked down the hall, where Gumshoe was leading his prisoner past a crowd of reporters with bursting flashbulbs. Bartlett had has coat pulled up over his head to hide his face, which was probably not a bad idea given his hair.

"No, I suppose not."

"So why did he confess? I mean, he's a forensic detective, so he should know what the evidence proved."

I shook my head.

"It's not just about the evidence. Heck, if I believed the evidence, I'd never be able to represent my clients! You said it yourself: you have to see all the evidence in the current viewpoint to interpret it. Well, since Bartlett was guilty, he already knew how to interpret the evidence before I presented it."

"I see! It's like knowing the answers to a test before the teacher asks the questions!" she enthused. "You're so busy writing down everything that you memorized that you don't notice if the questions are all there!"

"Um...maybe." I can honestly say I've never had the problem of knowing too much while taking a test, I thought, seeing blank answer sheets dancing before me.

"I'm going to work hard to remember that!" she said, clenching her fists in determination. "When I testify, it's only going to be what the evidence honestly says, not what some sneaky attorney wants it to say!"

Couldn't you have said "prosecutor"? "Er, glad to help. Just...do me a favor this time, will you?"

"Yes?"

"When you're going to the airport for your flight this time..."

"Uh-huh..."

"Take a taxi!"